July 03, 2007

ESRI 2007 International Users Conference

The planning for this summer’s event began months ago. In the limited time allotted there are many training and skill building opportunities that are shared. We all have to make tough choices about what we put into the schedule and after it is all over what we hope to accomplish from attending. Of course I’m talking about our high school girls summer basketball camp. Coming off an undefeated season, and capturing the 9th grade homeschool state basketball championship we’ve tasked ourselves this summer with taking our game to the next level in pursuit of a national championship. A lofty goal, especially considering many of our girls have very limited experience despite their unparalleled efforts and teach-ability. Unlike the season's basketball practices, the weekly one night a week format of basketball summer camp is hard work, but it is also fun. We started with a core group of girls, but word soon spread and we’ve almost doubled that number because the girls are having so much fun. They don’t realize how much work they are actually doing.

Also occurring last week was the 2007 ESRI International Users’ conference. I’m am not sure if it is true, but I heard that the event in San Diego is one of the largest single software meetings in the world with almost 14,000 people gathering in an atmosphere of fun and learning. As always I had a chance to meet with many of you and discuss your work, and you had the opportunity to experience a little of what I do when I’m not blogging. Thanks for sharing your work with me as well as your encouraging comments in person.

One GIS and CAD interoperability technology development that was unveiled during the conference was the description and demonstration of enhancements to the ArcGIS for AutoCAD application. Demonstrations included a new method of defining the coordinate system for a CAD file that is stored inside the AutoCAD drawings, and using that coordinate system information (projection information) to project ArcGIS Map Services on-the-fly for maps that may be maintained in a different coordinate system.

Also shown was a subtle but important new piece of GIS and CAD interoperability technology; a new AutoCAD-based feature class data encoding technique and specification. The new specification doesn’t require any add-on Autodesk or ESRI software inside AutoCAD. It is based on the entity filter syntax of existing AutoCAD named selection sets and includes some simple text strings stored in AutoCAD ‘X’-records to denote the type and contents of a user defined CAD feature class. The resulting feature class definition functions like a definition query in ArcMap, but instead of being set by the GIS professional after she receives an AutoCAD drawing, I as the CAD user define the correct feature class definitions based on my knowledge of the CAD file and how it can best be understood in the GIS.

Future versions of ArcGIS will recognize and honor the CAD feature classes along with the standard POINT, POLYLINE, POLYGON, MULTIPATCH and ANNOTATION feature classes of a CAD file. ArcGIS for AutoCAD will include tools to create and manage these feature class definitions, but CAD users can easily create and edit them using the simple AutoCAD application programming interfaces (API’s), as long as they adhere to the simple specification. These CAD feature classes will in turn be recognized by ArcGIS. More to come on this …


Anonymous Mimi Rothschild said...

Congratulations on winning the 9th grade homeschool state basketball championship!

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The technical workshops outlining the new Autocad capabilities left the Microstation users drooling. Are there plans for similar products from ESRI for those of us working with Microstation, and if so when can we anticipate there development?

Surveyor from California DOT

8:37 AM  
Blogger Don Kuehne said...

It was mentioned at the conference that ESRI has similar visions for Microstation and perhaps even other similar complimentary technologies . However timing for those other applications has as yet not been determined. Microstation would be an obvious next step.

10:10 AM  

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